PINE VALLEY (CNS) - A Good Samaritan was fatally injured Wednesday when he jumped over a bridge railing in an attempt to avoid oncoming vehicles after getting out of his car to help a motorist with a disabled vehicle on Interstate 8 just west of Pine Valley, authorities said. He was later identified as 48-year-old Robert Verlin Bruno Jr. of Jacumba.
Bruno had stopped to assist a 32-year-old man whose Ford F-150 crashed shortly before 5:15 a.m. The man lost control of the pickup truck amid icy conditions on westbound I-8, and the vehicle was blocking the left lane, California Highway Patrol Officer Travis Garrow said.
A four-month-old infant was also in the truck during the initial crash, but was uninjured, according to CHP.
Bruno stopped his Subaru Outback behind the pickup and got out to assist the driver, Garrow said. A short time later, a 33-year-old man driving a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup westbound on I-8 slowed as he was approaching the crash scene and began merging in the right lane to avoid it, the officer said.
As the pickup slowed, it was struck from behind by a 24-year-old man driving a Kia Sorento on westbound I-8, Garrow said, adding that a 40-year-old man driving a Honda Civic behind the Kia struck it from behind and caused it to collide into the pickup a second time.
Bruno spotted the oncoming vehicles and ran to the south edge of the bridge before jumping over the railing, falling to Pine Valley Creek below, Garrow said.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner was called to the scene around 6:45 a.m., after authorities located Bruno's body under the bridge.
The Ford driver sustained minor injuries, while the occupants of the other vehicles were uninjured in the crash, according to the CHP.
Intoxication was not believed to have been a factor in either crash, Garrow said.